Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals

61 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2008

See all articles by Eric J. Brunner

Eric J. Brunner

University of Connecticut

Stephen L. Ross

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Ebonya L. Washington

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2008

Abstract

There is a large literature demonstrating that positive economic conditions increase support for incumbent candidates, but little understanding of how economic conditions affect preferences for parties and for particulars of their platforms. We ask how exogenous shifts to the value of residents' human capital affect voting behavior in California neighborhoods. As predicted by economic theory, we find that positive economic shocks decrease support for redistributive policies. More notably, we find that conservative voting on a wide variety of ballot propositions - from crime to gambling to campaign finance - is increasing in economic well being. We further show that positive economic circumstances decrease turnout and have a mixed impact on candidate choice, highlighting a limitation of inferring policy preferences from party choice.

Keywords: Voting, Employment, Taxes, Expenditures

JEL Classification: D72, H0

Suggested Citation

Brunner, Eric J. and Ross, Stephen L. and Washington, Ebonya L., Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals (June 2008). Yale Economics Department Working Paper No. 50. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1139843 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1139843

Eric J. Brunner

University of Connecticut ( email )

Department of Public Policy
1800 Asylum Ave, 4th Floor
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States
860.570.9217 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/ericbrunner1/

Stephen L. Ross

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States
860-486-3533 (Phone)
860-486-4463 (Fax)

Ebonya L. Washington (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8264
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.yale.edu/polisci/people/ewashington.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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